Thursday, November 15, 2018

Rob Alexander’s Long Road Coming Home


DEEZER: https://www.deezer.com/en/album/57193212

From the melodies created by the timber of his voice making contact with the glistening notes of a piano or guitar to the organic tonality of his compositions themselves, adult contemporary artist Rob Alexander’s music is all about harmony. In the fourth single and title track from his album Long Road Coming Home, audiences are treated to an intimately crafted exhibition of Alexander’s knack for harmony in high definition audio that is cushioned by a lush production that doesn’t smother any of the singer’s rich textures in unnecessary frills. Unlike many other pop songs released in 2018, “Long Road Coming Home” isn’t a ballad that focuses on where we’re going, but rather where we’ve been. Contemplative and personal, this track strikes me as one cultivated in the emotions of its composer and not the commercial side of his medium.

Rob Alexander’s latest single is stylishly produced with a colorful polish that allows it to blend in well with contemporary pop music, but I wouldn’t go as far as to say that it doesn’t stand out in a lineup. Alexander’s vocal performance is driven by the heartfelt prose in the words of the song, which at times feel more like an internal monologue than they do lyrics. It’s almost as if we’re seeing things from his point of view, watching a black and white reel of his experiences and are inevitably led to agree with him that it is indeed “a long way down this rocky road.” As tough as the journey he describes may be, the comforting sway of his voice reminds us that he’s going to be right there by our side from beginning to end.


There’s a cosmopolitan, streamlined feel to the mix of “Long Road Coming Home” that makes it feel much more relevant and modern than it would if it had received less elaborate treatment behind the soundboard. There’s never any doubt that Alexander’s gilded vocal track is the star of the show, but the mix doesn’t sacrifice the contributions of the additional instrumentation to give his singing the spotlight. I like the evenness of the bass and the middle; too often pop singers favor more of a scooped EQ when they record soft rock and end up cheapening their sound as a result, but that isn’t the case with this song.

He’s proven himself to be a great singer and songwriter, and in “Long Road Coming Home” Rob Alexander adds another splash of character to his evolving musical persona, which has been quite fascinating to watch develop. It may not be the most exciting breakout song of 2018, but it’s unquestionably a true original from an authentically gifted performer who is picking up quite a positive reputation in his local Floridian scene and nationally as well. If you enjoy smooth vocal music that is accompanied by easy listening instrumentals that put more emphasis on tone than they do on vibrato and sheer volume, I’d recommend checking out this track and the record it takes its name from the next time you’re in the market for new music.

SPOTIFY: https://open.spotify.com/track/4tBA3jJm4HHZrSz6eVniJ0

Anthony Silver

The music of Rob Alexander has been heard all over the world due to the promotional services offered by Danie Cortese Entertainment & Publicity. Learn more here - http://www.daniecorteseent.com/

Monday, November 5, 2018

Abby Zotz – The Honey Has Arrived


URL: https://abbyzmusic.com/

The title Local Honey implies a level of personal engagement the album’s eleven songs deliver. Abby Zotz’s first solo album comes after a two decade long career journey from playing as part of a traditional music duo with former collaborator Bryan Williston and playing a key role in an assortment of other folk music themed outfits. Local Honey has a much more expansive range than we experience with her earlier work, however, as Zotz is making a clear effort to incorporate a variety of sounds into her musical presentation. It makes it a much richer ride from the first and never missteps. The core foundation of these songs is, invariably, acoustic guitar, but she’s joined by some great musicians to make this a memorable roll on a song to song basis.

“Stability” has an enjoyable sweep with a steady drumming pulse soon pushing it along, but never pressuring listener in an intensely physical way. If she’s going to rely on this sort of style for her album, you can rest assured from the first that she’s mastered the form while still bringing her own stamp to it and the convincing muscle behind the performance never over-exerts its presence. She doesn’t rely on that style alone but “Big Hope”, the album’s second tune, underlines it. Organ makes it only appearance on Local Honey and the lead electric guitar work coming into play as the song progresses gives sharp teeth to an already impressively strong experience. “Peace Sweet Peace” goes in a very different direction from the album’s first two songs and the near-acapella build of the song with its minimal musical backing still invokes a strong gospel and blues flavor. It has a little jazzy bounce too that makes it all the more irresistible. Make no mistake; this may initially sound like a throwaway, but it’s one of the best songs on Local Honey.


The later three some of “Pirouette”, “Good Bones”, and “Be Here Now” is the peak of the album for me, but I’m much more of a dyed in the wool folky than most. These are the finest lyrics on the release and spotlight the superb talents Zotz has in that area to complement her musical skills. These songs are obviously the product of a life intensely lived, but Zotz transforms it into something uniquely her own that’s accessible to all. “Good Bones” probably has the strongest positive vibe while the first and last songs cut deeper with the mix of direct language and poetic flourishes in the lyrical content. They never waste a single syllable and that same focus on the writing that defines the music makes these songs especially strong.

“Sea Change” is a remarkable but low key achievement thanks to its ability to reframe familiar lyrical and musical themes in a creative musical environment. There’s an interesting island feel to the song, or the suggestion of it, and that feature alone is enough to distinguish the song from the other material. “You’ll Never Know” has a wistful sadness tied up in its arrangement, but it’s never hamfisted and has underrated charm. It’s a perfect easy going way to wrap the release up lyrically, vocally, and musically and has an entertaining flair unlike anything preceding it. It’s a spot on ending for Local Honey, one of the best first efforts in recent memory.

AMAZON: https://www.amazon.com/Local-Honey-Abby-Zotz/dp/B07G31SW56

Brian Weeks